Loebsack responds to funding bill passage

WASHINGTON – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement Thursday after the House passed the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure the government remains open and provides funding for the rest of the current Fiscal Year.

LOEBSACK

“Let’s be clear, this bill should have been passed before October 1st of last year, more than six months ago. Instead, Congress lurched from one Continuing Resolution to another that made it difficult for Iowa towns and communities to receive grants and unnecessarily endangered our men and women in the military. On top of that, the bill was written behind closed doors, introduced in the middle of the night and was put on the House floor for a vote in less than 24 hours. It would be an understatement to say I am disappointed in the process and the continued games that led us to this position. This is not how Congress should be legislating.

“While many issues remain to be dealt with, I am pleased common ground was found and a bipartisan agreement was reached. The bill that passed the House today included investments in rural broadband, funding for our veterans, the National Institute of Health, community health centers, and families fighting opioid addiction. It also stops a pay increase for Members of Congress. These job-creating, life-saving investments will help grow our economy and ensure the government remains open.

“I am pleased that we have finally reached an agreement on funding the government, but now it is time to begin work on funding bills for FY2019 to ensure we do not end up in a similar situation later this year.”

Highlights of the funding included in the legislation follow:

TRANSPORTATION

  • $1.5 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER) grants program
  • $3.365 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • $1.36 billion for HOME Investment Partnerships
  • $2.525 billion in new funding for highway grants
  • $800 million in new funding for transit grants

EDUCATION

  • $700 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, which go toward school counseling and mental health services, technology investments and STEM education, bringing the total funding for the program to $1.1 billion
  • A $175 boost to the maximum Pell Grant award, which would be set at $6,095
  • Increases for Head Start, TRIO, career and technical education grants, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Title I-A grants, which go to schools with high percentages of low-income children

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • $2.4 billion overall for total State and Local Law Enforcement Activities; including $416 million for the Byrne-JAG program

AGRICULTURE

  • $3 billion for rural water and wastewater program loans and nearly $1 billion in water and waste grants
  • $6.9 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans

ENERGY AND WATER

  • $2.3 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
  • $6.8 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers

VETERANS AFFAIRS

  • $8.4 billion for the full budget request for all VA mental health services and programs
  • $330 million for inpatient and outpatient treatment, methadone and other pharmacy-related costs related to opioid abuse

HEALTH CARE

  • NIH will receive a $3 billion increase in funding, including $500 million for opioid research.
  • $2.7 billion for opioid treatment, prevention and research through HHS
  • $1.1 billion for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs at the DOD

HOMELAND

  • $700 million for AFG/SAFER to assist local fire departments

SERVICE

  • $1 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), including funding for Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Volunteer Generation Fund

About Chuck Vandenberg 3287 Articles
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